The voting percentage might go higher as the current statistics was released at 3 pm, the last hour for exercising voting.
Altogether 1,079 polling stations (out of 1,643) were covered with live web streaming to monitor activities inside polling stations while remaining 564 recorded offline by smartphones, CEO Dewangan added. However, in an isolated incident of violence, Erendro Leichombam, the only candidate from Irom Sharmila's People's Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) in the first phase was attacked by unknown miscreants. Even in the hilly areas of Churachandpur and the newly-created Kangpokpi districts, the youth voted without any fear.
As Manipur goes to polls to elect a new Assembly on Saturday and next Wednesday in a two-phase election, it is time to evaluate what shape politics is taking there.
While the ruling Congress, which has been in power for last 15 years, is contesting the polls on the issue framework agreement signed by the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre with the NSCN (IM) that will jeopardize the territorial integrity of Manipur, the BJP is contesting the polls on the agenda of development and "parivartan" (change), a mantra that did the wonders for the saffron party in Assam last year.
Saturday's ballot will decide the fate of Congress candidate Lokeshwar from Khundrakpam Assembly Constituency. Sharmila said she is confident of her party's victory in the elections, according to the ANI report. State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) T Venkentesh told UNI here today that all arrangements for a smooth conduct of the elections have been completed and the polling personnel have started reaching their respective booths. In 2012, Indian National Congress won majority of the seats and incumbent Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh was re-elected for the post. A total of 168 candidates were in the fray, of which, seven are women candidates.
Among those candidates contesting are congress candidate Th.Lokeshwar of Khundrakpam Assembly Constituency, who is also the speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, and other congress Ministers, I Hemochandra of Singjamei Ac, MPCC president TN Haokip, Works Mnister KH Ratankumar, Commerce and Industries Minister K Govindas, IFCD Minister Ngamthang Haokip and Social Welfare Minister AK Mirabai, who is also one among the two lady candidates of Congress party. The Congress, has fielded 59 candidates.
"Our first task would be to end the indefinite economic blockade and all efforts will be carried out to make the state free from bandhs and blockades", Shah said at a poll rally here on Wednesday. There are 11 independents in the fray.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) on Friday ordered an FIR against office-bearers of the BJP's Manipur unit and certain newspapers for publishing advertisements without its approval. Earlier on Thursady, before the polling date, Eastern Army Commander Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi completed reviewed the security situation ahead of the assembly polls slated to be held on March 4 and March 8.